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Worcestershire toured Nazi Germany in 1937, new book reveals

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The Marylebone Cricket Club recorded the visit by Worcestershire © Getty Images (Representational Photo)

London: Apr 27, 2014

A new book has reportedly revealed that a cricket team from Worcestershire had visited Germany in 1937 to play in three matches organised by members of the Nazi hierarchy who had developed an interest in the sport.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) recorded the 1937 visit by the Gentlemen of Worcestershire cricket club to Berlin, which is mentioned in the book ‘Field of Shadows’ authored by British writer Dan Waddell.

According to the BBC, the Nazi Reichsportsfuhrer Hans von Tschammer und Osten, who had visited England to watch a Davis Cup tennis semi-final between Germany and United States of America (USA) at Wimbledon and a Lord’s county match, may have met Maj Maurice Jewell, a stalwart of the Gentlemen team, and asked him to bring a cricket team to Berlin.

The report mentioned that the Gents, as they are still known, are one of the oldest surviving cricket teams in the world- they played their first match in 1848 and is a wandering or nomadic club with no home ground.

Wadell wrote in his book that after the Nazi minister’s request, Jewell was able to rustle up a team of wealthy gentlemen, five of whom had played First-Class cricket for Worcestershire, as well public schoolboys who could travel within a few weeks to Berlin, adding that the team won all the three of the matches comfortably.

The book also mentioned that the team arrived in Berlin as the city was celebrating its 700th anniversary in an event manufactured by Nazi propagandists and the Gents were asked to give the Nazi salute before their first match, which they were forced to oblige.

The report further mentioned that atmosphere of intrigue around the tour led to speculation that one of the English players might have been a spy.

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